Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's not the end, it's all just beginning

The program is nearing the end. We just got back from Siempre Verde today and have been packing our suitcases for our flights tomorrow. The Centro had a nice celebration to thank us for the work we did. It was a lot of fun eating the Tiramisu they made for us and dancing too. We are pretty tired but I think most of us are ready to get back home.

Siempre Verde was a great end to the trip because it was a place to reflect and think, all while relaxing. Last night in reflections, we discussed what we have learned over the course of this program and even some changes we are going to make when we return to the United States. Bob brought up a good point that this is really isn't the end, this is actually just the beginning. This experience isn't over and a lot of reflection will be done when we are back in the United States. Some of the things we've learned, we probably won't realize until days, weeks, or even months after the program ends. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Siempre Verde

We leave for Siempre Verde tomorrow. There isn't a lot to do in Siempre Verde except to reflect, relax, and enjoy the company of everyone around. I think it will be good for all of us because it has been some busy few days. 

We finished our service component of the trip today. It was our last day of classes with the students. It was kind of sad to leave them because we have formed some bonds with the students we have spent the last week teaching. We took about 40-50 of the kids to Rio Pito yesterday. It was about an hour bus ride and then once we arrived, we had the choice of going on a variety of different walks. Most of us chose the 'gran aventura,' which was about an hour hike to a waterfall. The waterfall was amazing and real strong. The water was freezing because it comes from Cotopaxi, one of the highest mountains in Ecuador. We had the opportunity to walk behind the waterfall, which was quite an experience. I would post some pictures but I forgot to put my battery in my camera before we left. I had a camera, but no battery.

On Saturday, we went to Mindo. It is in the northern part of Ecuador, near the forest (not the rain forest). There, we got to go to a Butterfly exhibit and then ate a delicious meal of trout. The trout was fresh from the area. After lunch, we had the opportunity to go zip lining. I think for many of us, it was our first time going zip lining. It was pretty scary but we got a good view of the forest and Mindo. 

Sunday, we had to the opportunity to go to a soccer game. It was S.D. Quito versus Elemec. Elemec is from Guayaquil, so it makes the two teams rivals. It was a great cultural experience because the entire game the fans were singing and shouting. Soccer fans don't really compare to any sports' fans we have in the United States. S.D. Quito won, 1-0. We really enjoyed ourselves watching the game and eating some local stadium food, like empanadas. 

I just wanted to apologize for the lack of updates. The internet has been working off and on here. I know we don't have many more days left, but I will try and keep it updated as much as we can. You may not hear anything until Friday because Siempre Verde has no electricity, so there won't be any phone or internet access. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Service Begins...

Yesterday was our first day of service. We taught guitar, drums, math, english, theatre and art classes. They seemed to go very well but the difficulty we ran into is the language barrier. However, it is an opportunity to really improve and work on our spanish skills. It is interesting being the teacher because we have realized all that goes into teaching and it really isn't that easy. Usually the lesson plan that you work to prepare you don't even follow. Some of us prepared for a large class and only received four students. Part of teaching is definitely learning how to adjust your plans ont he spot. We are expecting more students today, so we will see how it goes!

Some of us went to the mall today and it seemed like we were in American for a little bit of time. You could definitely see the effects of globalization right here in Quito. We took the Trolle Bus which was an interesting experience. It only cost 25 cents to ride it. On the way home, it was so packed we could barely move to get out for our own stop. When we finally got back for a nice meal of lasagna. The food at the foundation is not bad, but it was nice to have a little taste of home.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hello from Ecuador...

I just wanted to say hello to everyone. Everything is great here. We got back from San Clemente where we stayed the night with the indigenious families and then visited Otavalo. It's been two long days and we are all very exhausted.

Stay tuned for more updates and pictures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 12th

After an exciting, event-filled, and sometimes stressful week, we were all very ready for a day of relaxation! Sunday was designated a free day and we all took advantage of this in our own way. Many people chose to sleep in- a luxury that we haven't had lately- while others preferred to get an early start on the day to spend as he or she pleased. Visitors were allowed today so lots of guests came out to DePauw, bringing treats and news from home.

The warm summer evening was ideal for our barbecue and outdoor activities. John manned the grill while we played volleyball and a few brave ones tried out the slip-n-slide. Bob and his family joined us at the cookout and we met his niece, Allison, who will be joining us on the trip to Ecuador.

The later hours of the evening found us, the procrastinators, scanning the internet to find an article about Ecuador, an assignment Pablo gave as homework. For many people, it was early to bed, as we have another very busy and exciting week ahead of us!

-Rachel Rominger 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oops I forgot to add July 7th

Tuesday July 7th

After waiting for what seemed like ETERNITY our first service project has finally come upon us.  We split into two groups, where one helped paint a family's shed, and the others, like myself, went to tidy up the DePauw Natrue Park. The initial task seemed simple: clear the inundation of cattails that have taken over the pond.  We were definitely in for a surprise when we learned that the only way to get rid of the roots was to get into the muddy, quicksand-like water. Initially we had fun splashing around and getting dirty (why not?) until we discovered the wrath of snakes, spiders and other creepy creatures. To our relief, we returned back to Montgomery to shower and get ready for dinner. After a delicious meal, we had are final discussion with Tim Good! We did our final mirror activity, columbian hypnosis and statue creations. You might want to ask your child for clarification of these odd, "torpe" ("awkward") team-building activities. FYI if your child comes home with shirts with beyond-the-hopes-of-clorox-stains, just blame it on the DePauw Natrue park pond!! 


Maggie Cohen